40 Years After AIDS Discovery, HIV Cases Still High In Maricopa County

Published: Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 1:53pm
Updated: Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 2:27pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This conversation may not be appropriate for all listeners.

This month marks 40 years since the first five cases of an unknown disease were reported in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Officials didn’t know it then, but those first five cases would later become known as AIDS, and it would take the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the country.

Today, HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — is preventable and treatable. But it’s still spreading.

In fact, Maricopa County is one of 48 counties in the U.S. with the highest rates of new HIV infections. More than 11,000 people here are living with HIV.

Dr. Ann Khalsa was there at the beginning. She began her career in the early 1980s when doctors were first seeing patients die of this mysterious disease. Today, she specializes in HIV as the medical director for Valleywise Health’s Community Health Center in central Phoenix.

The Show spoke with her to hear about her memories of that time and how different things are today.

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